The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has said a £20 million project to convert a former Royal Mail sorting office into a school is “not daunting” because the building is “structurally sound.”
The Chronicle & Echo has been given a tour around the large building in Barrack Road that is set to become a new primary and secondary school, with 2.220 places for pupils.
The school, known as the Northampton International Academy, is set to open in September next year, although the first year of pupils will be taught in a temporary classroom until the building opens the following year.
During the past few months, work has been carried out to strip out the former sorting office and make it safe.
During a recent visit to the building, Northamptonshire County Council leader Jim Harker said he was excited that his authority was leading the biggest school conversion project in the country.
He said: “It is a tremendous project in every aspect. We are regenerating this building by turning it into a school.
“It is not daunting because this building is structurally sound and pretty well enclosed.
“It will be a real boost for the people of Northampton, especially as we will be able to include the community aspect.
Duncan Mills, managing director of the EMLC Trust who are sponsoring the new school, said the size of the building meant it was very adaptable.
He said: “The architect said this was a once in a career opportunity. When you look inside you see there is so much you can do with the space.”
Mr Mills said that one of the ways they would be getting more natural light into the building would be by cutting slots into the ceiling of all of the floors.
Emma McClarkin, East Midlands MEP, who also visited the building on Friday, said the multi-million pound building project was great news for Northampton.
She said: “This is phenomenal transition project. I like the fact the school will have an international focus and it shows Northampton will be looking out to the rest of the world.”